• Alarum within. Enter KING DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, with attendants, meeting a bleeding CAPTAIN

    DUNCAN

    What bloody man is that? He can report,
    As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
    The newest state.

    MALCOLM

         This is the sergeant
    Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
    5'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
    Say to the king the knowledge of the broil
    As thou didst leave it.

    CAPTAIN

         Doubtful it stood,
    As two spent swimmers that do cling together
    And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald—
    10Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
    The multiplying villanies of nature
    Do swarm upon him—from the Western Isles
    Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied,
    And fortune, on his damnèd quarrel smiling,
    15Showed like a rebel’s whore. But all’s too weak,
    For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
    Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,
    Which smoked with bloody execution,
    Like valor’s minion carved out his passage
    20Till he faced the slave;
    Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
    Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops,
    And fixed his head upon our battlements.

    DUNCAN

    O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!
  • Sounds of a trumpet and soldiers fighting offstage. KING DUNCAN enters with his sons MALCOLM and DONALBAIN, LENNOX, and a number of attendants. They meet a wounded and bloody CAPTAIN.

    DUNCAN

    Who is this bloody man? Judging from his appearance, I bet he can tell us the latest news about the revolt.

    MALCOLM

    This is the brave sergeant who fought to keep me from being captured. Hail, brave friend! Tell the king what was happening in the battle when you left it.

    CAPTAIN

    For a while you couldn’t tell who would win. The armies were like two exhausted swimmers clinging to each other and struggling in the water, unable to move. The villainous rebel Macdonwald was supported by foot soldiers and horsemen from Ireland and the Hebrides, and Lady Luck was with him, smiling cruelly at his enemies as if she were his whore. But Luck and Macdonwald together weren’t strong enough. Brave Macbeth, laughing at Luck, chopped his way through to Macdonwald, who didn’t even have time to say good-bye or shake hands before Macbeth split him open from his navel to his jawbone and stuck his head on our castle walls.

    DUNCAN

    My brave relative! What a worthy man!